There are moments when I catch myself making a quick getaway trip to do something fun and different. But what is fun and different? Well that can be a bit subjective but in my case, it’s all about eating, playing, and really just being a kid again, to be carefree and happy. Lately, I’ve been caught up with a lot of work so for me to be a kid again, then it’s something that’s definitely worth becoming.
I flew to Osaka to visit Universal Studios Japan. Osaka is just an hour away from Kansai airport. You can ride the train, bus, or taxi going to the city. But if you’re all about convenience, especially when traveling in big groups, I suggest booking your own private transfer. You can get it using this link. This saves you time navigating your way through the complicated train system of Osaka on your first day.
Also, I love being connected to the internet especially when traveling since this will help me save time finding my way around the city and looking for awesome places to go. Get your pocket wifi HERE.
After checking-in, I met up with some friends to explore Osaka at night. I love its vibrant energetic vibe that continues until wee hours at night. Eating in Dotonbori and shopping in Namba are things you can’t miss when you’re around the city. We also found this quaint hidden bar called, Bar Eighteen. It was fun to be surrounded with different mix of nationalities - all rounded and entertained by the friendly bartender, Kazuhiro Nakamura.
But really, what’s even more exciting is our trip to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) where they’re celebrating an Easter special that is uber cute and fun especially for kids-at-heart like me.
My last visit in USJ was way back 2014 and man, were there massive changes and upgrades! The Spiderman attraction has 4K3D projections, Back to the Future was replaced by the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The Detective Conan is also the latest addition to USJ’s attractions as it is cleverly crafted to make anyone wonder and test their detective skills. The biggest upgrade and always a crowd favorite is the Wizardly World of Harry Potter. They were still constructing this when I last visited so I’m glad to finally see this now because they’ve upgraded their equipment and attractions too. So if you haven’t been to USJ recently then this will help you maximize your experience as if it’s your first time again.
When arriving in USJ, check out the wide selection of restaurants and shops along the City Walk. You’ll find the USJ globe at the end where you can take photos. Nearby is the park ticket office, but if you want to skip the long queue and save time, you can also purchase your USJ tickets in advance HERE.
As soon as we enter the park, it was just in time for the Sesame Street and this time, their theme is Bollywood where we found Bert, Ernie, and Elmo dancing and acting with the talented and interactive Bollywood performers.
Then, we headed to the World Street Market and tried their limited edition Mexican turkey leg, which is topped with spices and paired with a wedge of lime. It was soooo good! I also had the premium cheese and curry hotdog. Different from your ordinary hotdog sandwich but definitely worth trying. Love how we’re enjoying this snacks while looking at the lake in the middle of the park. It was so serene, perfect for a quick rest while we explore some more of the park later on.
Then, we also experienced the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. I enjoyed the 4D experience and was a bit emotional watching the heartwarming 3D ride as Gru saves his daughters from his exploding factory. While waiting in line, make sure to stop by Pop-a-Nana and get their limited edition custard pudding flavored popcorn. It’s specially curated for the Easter event. The popcorn bucket is themed for Easter too, isn’t it cute? Try the Despicable Me Cookie Kitchen too. Their minion cookie ice cream sandwich is sure to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
If you’re also a fan of the movie, SING, then I’m sure you’ll love their musical, Sing on Tour. It’s just like how they portrayed in the movie, but live! Seeing them sing for real is actually quite cool. Their songs stuck in my mind all throughout my stay in USJ. My favorite is Meena’s Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing. Check out the gift shop after watching the musical. They have all sorts of cute stuff like plushies, shirts, etc.
Not so far from the theater is Wonderland where they’re also having an Easter celebration. This place is perfect for kids and toddlers who would like to try the not so scary rides such as the flying Snoopy in Snoopy Studios, rotating cupcakes in Hello Kitty, and the carousel in Sesame Street.
And if that’s not enough yo make you feel like a kid again, make sure to stop by the It’s Soooo Fluffy gift shop. Of all the gift shops in USJ, this one’s my favorite because here, you’ll find the cutest and fluffiest unicorn plushy just like that toy of Agnes from Despicable Me.
But if you’re feeling extra magical and adventurous, then the Wizardly Place of Harry Potter is the right place to be. Best to go this time of the year as they’re also celebrating its 5thyear anniversary and man, are you in for a treat! Personally, my favorite ride in USJ is Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey because it leaves you thrilled and excited. It used to have 3D glasses to create magical illusions, but they’ve upgraded this attraction to give you a more realistic experience. You’ll literally feel the heat and see Dementors inside so you’ve been warned!
After this ride, make sure to also catch the Hogwarts Magical Celebration at 7pm as the Hogwarts Castle lights up and showcase amazing light shows that features the different houses of Hogwarts: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. It’s really amazing to witness this and I couldn’t help but wonder the planning and preparations made by USJ to execute this. It’s marvelously magical!
Since it was drizzling that day, the Universal Spectacle Night Parade was unfortunately cancelled, but this is really something that y’all should see as well. Instead, we went for another thrilling experience of riding the Hollywood Dream where the roller coaster either takes you forward or backward depending where you’re lined up. I love how it allows you to select 1 out of the 5 songs that you like while riding it. I don’t know if this should calm your fears or what lol but I actually find it quite relaxing.
The park closes at 8:30pm and we couldn’t help but take more photos as the park transforms at night. It’s completely different and beautiful, we can’t help but preserve this wonderful and amazing experience. To be a kid again and be carefree, only here in Universal Studios Japan did I experience it and for that I will forever be grateful.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN BOOKING AND IMPORTANT DETAILS:
Getting to the Park
Your destination will be Universal City Station, and from there it’s an about a 5-minute walk to the park. I suggest downloading an app for this to help you navigate your way depending where you’re coming from.
09:00 – 20:30
※Park operation hours may be subject to change without notice. Admission may also start earlier than park opening time so please check the website prior to your visit.
※Ticket booths are open an hour before the park opens until two hours before the park closes.
[1 Day Studio Pass]
Adults ￥7,400~ with tax / Children￥5,100~ with tax / Seniors￥6,700~ with tax
[2 Day Studio Pass]
Adults ￥14,700 with tax / Children￥10,000 with tax
[Twilight Pass] – Admission tickets after 15:00
Depending on the day, you can get the Twilight Pass for ￥1,300 - ￥1,500 less than the 1-Day Studio Pass. This is a deal if you want a glimpse of USJ at night.
Universal Express Pass (Premium service for making reservation for attractions)
For a complete list of attractions with Express Pass, click HERE.
Pass 7 (Offers privilege to 7 popular attractions): ￥10,400 with tax*
Pass 4 (Offers privilege to 4 popular attractions): ￥6,800 with tax*
Pass 3 (Offers privilege to 3 popular attractions): ￥5,400 with tax*
*Prices may differ depending on the date.
※ Privilege: Universal Express Pass holders can enjoy rides without having to wait in line. Get this no matter what, trust me. You don’t want to wait in line for hours and hours. Be it off-season or peak season, weekend or weekday.
※ Quick Tip: I suggest riding all the rides in your express pass consecutively as soon as you enter the park so that you can skip the long lines at the start of your day and give you more time to explore USJ at your own pace.
※ Passes can be purchased at the ticket booth (tickets subject to be sold out) so click on the links above to get these passes in advance.
ID required to receive discounted privileges
- Adults: Aged 12 or over
- Children: Ages 4-11
- Senior citizens: Aged 65 or over
※ Ticket booths are open from one hour before the park opens for business until two hours before the park closes.
If you are staying at one of our partner hotels, you may purchase Advance Tickets on the day of your check-in and the following day as well.
※ For advance USJ tickets, you can purchase through KKday. What I love about this is that you’ll save money and most especially time, since this allows direct entry to the park.
Some rides and attractions also have certain height requirements. But for as long as a kid’s accompanied by a supervising companion, then there’s not much to worry about. Here’s a complete guide of USJ’s attractions with height requirements.